I’m kinda obsessed with fruit crisps … this rhubarb apple crisp is my latest obsession. I mean, what’s not to like about a crisp? You throw some fruit on the bottom of a pan with some pantry staples for the topping and voila! You’ve got yourself a delicious dessert!
As soon as spring hits and rhubarb is in season, it is destined for my crisp pan. It’s the first of many spring/summer fruits that you can quickly and easily make into a delicious dessert. (Okay … so technically rhubarb is a vegetable but let’s just call it a fruit to simplify things if that works? I’m pretty sure not too many people would want to eat a vegetable crisp!)
One of the challenges with rhubarb crisp recipes is that they have a lot of added sugar. While I am not against sugar (in fact some of you need to stop restricting sugar), I do think that we can reduce the amount in some desserts without compromising on taste at all.
So what did I do with my mom’s heirloom family rhubarb crisp recipes?
Experiment in the kitchen! I fiddled around and came up with a rhubarb crisp with a lower amount of added sugar; a recipe that doesn’t overpower the rhubarb flavour with sugar, but has enough to take away the tartness. One way that I was able to achieve this was by mixing apples with the rhubarb. Their natural sweetness helps to sweeten the crisp.
Not surprisingly, there are many strawberry rhubarb crisp recipes that appear on a “rhubarb recipe” search. They add a lovely natural sweetness (and brilliant red colour) to a rhubarb recipe. The only problem with a strawberry rhubarb crisp is that oftentimes local strawberries are not in season as early as rhubarb is! (Check here for a local fruit/veg availability guide for Ontario). Apples provide a timely local, cost-effective and delicious solution.
P.S. Don’t forget that this crisp is easily made gluten-free and dairy-free with a few simple substitutions (outlined below). If you’ve got a sizeable amount of rhubarb to use up, be sure to give these dairy-free rhubarb berry muffins a try! They are a family favourite in our home.
Before I let you go, I have one last quick suggestion! Try serving this crisp (or any crisp!) in a bowl with a generous swig of your preferred milk! My mom used to serve it like this for my sisters and I growing up. It’s the ultimate comfort! The photo didn’t make the cut though. Turns out a bowl of crisp in a bath of milk is not very Pinterest-worthy! Ha! 🙂
This rhubarb apple crisp uses apples to help naturally sweeten the rhubarb. Easily made gluten-free and dairy-free with a few simple substitutions.
3 cups apples, peeled, cored and chopped (I like using honeycrisp or gala)
2 cups rhubarb, chopped into small pieces
1/3 cup organic cane sugar
2 Tbsp whole wheat flour (for GF use gluten-free all-purpose flour or cornstarch)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup rolled oats (for GF use certified gluten-free rolled oats)
6 Tbsp whole wheat flour (for GF use gluten-free all-purpose flour or almond flour)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp melted butter (for DF use coconut oil)
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Grease an oval baking dish with a 6-cup capacity. (The fruit will shrink when baking as water escapes so don’t worry if it is filled fairly high!)
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the rhubarb, apples, cane sugar, whole wheat flour, vanilla and cinnamon. Toss well and place in your prepared baking dish.
In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the crumb topping. Using your hands or a spoon, sprinkle it evenly on top of the fruit mixture.
Bake at 375°F for approximately 50 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the filling is thick and bubble. (If you find that the topping is getting quite brown before the fruit is cooked, you can cover it with tin foil part-way through).
Let cool before serving for the little ones to avoid burnt tongues!
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